Tea Facts and Dates | Tea History

Meredith Sweetpea loves fun facts, so here are a few about tea…

  • In 1610, the Portuguese and Dutch first imported tea into Europe.
  • In 1678, the British began importing tea commercially, and took over the formerly Dutch-dominated tea trade.
  • In 1869, the Suez Canal opened, making the trip to China for tea shorter and more economical by steamship.
  • In 1904, iced tea was introduced by Richard Blechynden for the St. Louis World Fair. A group of tea producers organized a special tea pavilion to offer hot tea, but when the temperatures rose to unusual levels, the tea was served in glasses packed with ice.  U.S. consumers drink almost 50 billion glasses of iced tea a year nowadays, or about 80% of all tea consumed in the States.
  • In 1908, tea bags were invented by accident. New York-based Thomas Sullivan had been sending tea in silk bags to restaurant clients throughout the city. He discovered that some of the clients, in order to save time, were brewing the tea right in the silk bags.
  • In 1952, Lipton Tea patented a four-sided tea bag called the flo-thru tea bag.
  • In 1953, the first instant tea was introduced.

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